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Monday, July 31, 2017

POLENTA WITH A BASIC RECIPE FOR POLENTA



Polenta, like porridge
with a dab of butter
Photo by: Lord-Williams
polenta, thick porridge made with any grain used in bread making such as spelt, barely, wheat, etc. Today it is made with cornmeal. Polenta is a corruption of the Roman predessor pulmentum, a soft and pasty mass of dough made with crushed grain or that which is boiled in water or milk to which cheese and honey or other dressing is added. It is a thick gruel or a coarse loaf when placed in a bowl or vessel.

Roman legions ate it as a staple. Pliny provides a recipe for polenta using barley. Apicius’ is cream of wheat, which he molds, slices like cake and fries. He serves it with honey.

Traditionally these were prepared as a thick creamy porridges with chicken broth and almond milk used exclusively by peasants and poor villagers throughout medieval Europe. There is a recipe for it in Sent Soví which is called gachas, which consists of flour and water. Adding oil and salt half way through with boiling sugar or honey is optional.

Nola elaborates on this recipe calling for peeled barley or spelt wheat and almond milk and he sprinkles sugar and cinnamon on top.
For a more refined pottage he uses hen or mutton broth, which he claims to be good for the sick because of its delicacy.

Throughout history there have been few variations. In the 13th century Al Andalus cookery, gachas were made with flour or semolina which was called asida. They also made gachas with semolina and steamed it with couscous, anise seed could be added.

Jews had their version, which they call harisa. In León, it was made with barley or chestnut meal to which cheese and a broth from stew or pork fat could be added. On fish days, eels, crab or other fish were used instead of animal products. See
sémola.  

[Anón/Grewe. 1982:CXI:138; Castro. Alimentación.1996:120; ES: Decker. “Re: SC.” Apr 7, 98; García del Cerro. 1990:17; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:78:87; Giacosa. 1994:2:159 and Nola. 1989: xxi-3]

See blog titled aloe for the Medieval Spanish Chef’s recipe for Summer Coolers”, published September 5, 2011; and blog titled gachas for Sent Soví recipe #CXI “How to Make Flour Porridge,” published September 24, 2014

A BASIC EVERYDAY RECIPE FOR POLENTA

Ingredients
Fried Polenta
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1 c polenta
1 ½ c milk
1 ½ c water
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
olive oil for frying

Garnish
honey

Preparation

Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, continue stirring for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and our into a rectangular container. Let cool.

When ready to eat, cut the polenta into smaller rectangles or circles. Heat olive oil and fry. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Drizzle with honey and serve.







Friday, July 28, 2017

PODRIDA WITH A UNIGUE AUSTIAN RECIPE FOR RICE AND BLUE CHEESE

Cabrales Blue Cheese
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Gal, Leon podre, Ar. pūdaj, Per. būdhaj  Eng. rotten. In Galicia and the Maragato region it is used in reference to aged cheese especially. The words in Arabic refer to rotten barley. See olla berciana. [ES: Lord. “Angus”. Sep 27, 11; “cabrales.” Jun 7, 12. and Christmas. Dec 10, 11 etc;  and Perry. “Introductory.” 2001:21]

CONCHA’S CREAM OF RICE RECIPE WITH BLUE CHEESE FROM ASTURIAS

Ingredients 

1 tbsp chopped dates
½ c sweet white wine
1 onion
½ c olive oil 
1 c rice 
salt to taste 
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp nutmeg 
1 ½ c cream 
½ c whole milk 
¾ c blue cheese 

Garnish:
¼ c walnuts 
1 tbsp blue cheese
 tbsp chopped parsley

Preparation 

Chop walnuts and set aside.

Soak raisins in wine and set aside.

Finely chop onion and set aside. Heat oil and lightly fry onion. Add rice and brown.

Add cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper and flavor with nutmeg. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking as it forms a paste.

After 15 minutes of cooking add blue cheese, raisins and wine.

Continue cooking for 5 minutes until rice is sof. Cover and let sit 20 minutes.

Pour rice into a serving dish and garnish with walnuts and sprinkle with cheese and chopped parsley.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PLINEO WITH PLINY'S DELICIOUS RECIPE FOR MARINATED ROAST PORK

The Eruption of Vesuvius - Pether
Photo from: pepperberryfarm
Plineo, Pliny, Galius  Plinius Secundus, Pliny the Elder, AD 23/4 (?)-79 (in the eruption of Mount Vesuvicus, Italy). He was a Roman nobleman, admiral serving in Germany, Spain and Italy, historian, author of Natural History, an encyclopedic work published in 77 AD. naturalist and he loved food.  

The Natural History work is of disputed accuracy but served as the authority on scientific matters up to the end of Middle Ages. His work was unchallenged during that time for lack of more reliable information and it was a basic text for general education. It consists of some 37 books on a variety of information including anthropology, zoology, botany and pharmacology of the vegetable kingdom.

Pliny believed in magic and superstition. He mixed fact with fiction but he presented a methodical work and through his perceptiveness indicated details of which others were not cognizant. In this glossary, his medicinal opinions are cited from time to time. Sometimes they are correct and other times they must be taken with a grain of salt, such as in Books 12-19 Botany, 20-7 on medical properties of plants, he advises that wrinkles can be removed with asses’ milk! So who wants a face lifting if a she ass is available? See azcúcar de caña, duranzo and indica.
Sealing Marinated Meat
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Pliny learned the secret of bee keeping when in India. He brought bees back with him to test. As a result he is said to have created a powerful marinade combining the honey from the bees, wine from Pompeii, known as the best in the world of all Roman history, and herbs. It was so delicious that it was said that just the smell of it opened the appetites of all who passed by.

Next, Pliny wanted heat as powerful as the marinade and choose the Vesuvius volcano when it erupted. Under the pretense of saving the citizens of Pompeii, he sailed his fleet of ships to Pompeii to organize the evacuation of the city.

Secretly, Pliny tested his theory of heat by selected the hottest spot to roast his pork over the lava splashing over Pompeii. As he died during the eruption the secret of his recipe were lost forever.

[ES: Grieve. “Spurges.” 1995; ES: Johnson. Sep 22, 14; and Historia. 1995:I:7-34]

Eric Johnson in “Tales from The Cook Pliny The Elder’s Fire Roast Pork,” recreated the recipe:
Ingredients
5 lbs pork ribs, butt, chops, sirloin, or whatever cut you have.
Ready to Melt in Your Mouth
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Marinade
2 cups honey
1 bottle red wine- chuck is best for this recipe, half of the bottle for you. The other for the pork.
1 large onion minced
1 bunch of fresh oregano

Preparation


Cut the pork into strips or individual ribs and set the pork aside. Smash the fresh oregano with the flat of your knife and put it in a large bowl. Combine the onion, wine and honey with the oregano in a bowl. Mix it well. Marinade the pork over night. Cook the pork on a very hot fire to sear and partially char the pork.

Monday, July 24, 2017

PLATO WITH 13TH CENTURY RESIPE FOR A DISH OF EGGPLANTS

 
A Round Silver Plate
Fit for a King
Photo by: Lord-Williams
OCast platel, plater, Eng. 1. a shallow, round plate, made of wood or metal, except in court where they were gold or silver. It is claimed the silver plates were first documented in Pérez’ corrected version of Nola’s Libro de guisados 2. Platter, marmite.  3. a dish, a serving of food. [Anón/Huici. 1966: 4:17:10:20:11:20 etc; ES: Lord. Fadalat. Posted Jan 26, 08;  Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:42; Nola/Pérez. 1994:206 and Villena/Calero 2002:29b:30a:30b]

A DISH OF EGGPLANTS ADAPTED FROM HUICI'S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN. AL-ANDALUS #154 PLATO DE BERENJENAS, pp 101-102


Ingredients

2 lbs eggplants
Eggplant Dishes were Famous in the
Hispano-Arabic Culture
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 onion
1 tsp murri
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp coriander
salt to taste
1 c walnuts
6 eggs

Garnish
Pepper
Rue


Preparation

Cut eggplants in half. Rub the raw sides with thick salt. Turn out on paper towels and let sit at least ½ hour.

Peel eggplants. Mash them in a food processor with the onion, murri, pepper and coriander and salt. Put this in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375ºF/190 C

A Colorful Dish for Any Table
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Grease a marmite with olive oil and pour the mixture into it.

Separate eggs yolks from whites.

Grind walnuts in a food processor and add egg whites.  Mix well. Pour this over the eggplant mixture in the marmite. Dot it with egg yolks.  Heat 20 minutes until eggs are soft.

Garnish with pepper an0 rue[1]
 before serving.



[1] Note that rue is very strong. Just a few leaves can take over the flavor of the dish. If using, do so sparingly.

HUICI'S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN. AL-ANDALUS 
#154 PLATO DE BERENJENAS, pp 101-102


Friday, July 21, 2017

PLATANO, THE BANANA

L. Musa sapientum, Eng. banana. It is first documented in 303 B.C. It is thought to be a native of Malaysia and SE Asia. In 79 A.D. Pliny not only praised the taste of the banana but stressed the importance of this food used by the old wise men of India. It was not widely known until the 19th C. but is mentioned in the Calendario de Córdoba in the 10th C. It is known that a variety of banana was brought to Spain by Ibn Bassal in the 11th C from India, which was cultivated as an ornament, Although not cultivated around Cordoba, Granada was famed to be the best producer. Benavides-Barajas claims that there are a few recipes for banana sweets in Al-Andalus but gives no references.

The banana contains more sugar than the majority of other fruits. It has the same value as wheat or rice in providing energy to the system. One hundred grams of fresh banana yield the same amount of calories as 100 gr. of meat. At the same time, it contains the 10 grs. of organic calcium like milk and cheese. It is calculated that an adult needs five grams daily to repair the vital functions of the body. It has a considerable amount of phosphorous that is vital for intelligence. It is also a source for fluoride, iron and iodine, which is essential against gout. It contains as much vitamin C, as other fruits, plus vitamin B6, vitamins D and E and potassium. Shortly after the discovery of America, it was exported from the Canary Islands to America.

Bananas are not mentioned in any of the medieval recipes reviewed by the Medieval Spanish Chef or in the 19th century recipes in the archives of the Baroness of Almiserat.

There are claims that the banana split was known in the Middle Ages but the
use of chocolate ice cream makes this doubtful as chocolate is a new world product.


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Spanish bananas differ from American bananas as they are smaller and sweeter. Today, the best Spanish bananas are from the Canary Islands.

[Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:264; Font. Plantas. 1999:671:948-950; and Usher. 1974:400-401]

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

PISTO WITH 13TH CENTURY FORERUNNER

Frying the Forerunner of Pisto
Photo by: Lord-Williams
a dish of fried and chopped garden vegetables, namely eggplant, onion, garlic and seasoning including vinegar, pepper, cilantro and cumin in medieval times. It was seasoned with vinegar and served with meat. It is of Arab origin as it evolved from albornia (Moorish for eggplant) stew seasoned with saffron, cilantro and cumin as seen in the 13th C Hispano-Arab Manuscript. Today, however the main ingredients are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onion and zucchini. Each family has their particular recipe handed down for generations. [Delgado. 1994:183; Fernández González. 1994:191; Anón/Huici.1966:346:191:347:191: 348:191-192; and Pers. Memories. Nov 21, 05]

TOASTED BEREJENAS ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS, #347 RECETA DEL MISMO PLATO TOSTADO,[1] p 191

Ingredients

A Perfect Accompaniment
for a delicious dinner
Photo by: Lord.Williams
1 eggplant
2 onions
olive oil for frying
salt to taste
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp saffron mashed and dissolved
1 tsp murri

Preparation

Cut eggplant in half. Rub the fleshy side with salt. Turn the fleshy side down into a dish towel and let it bleed for ½ hour.

Scald eggplant and onions in boiling water and pat dry.

Dice eggplant and onions.

Heat enough oil to sautée the vegetables. Add the eggplant, onions. Season with the remaining ingredients. Cook until the juices from the eggplant and onions have dried up. Remove and serve.

HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS,
RECETA DEL MISMO PLATO TOSTADO, p 191





[1]Note this is not “pisto” but a forerunner.